At the side of the highway just about halfway between Fairbanks and Anchorage, an entrepreneur had built and hotel that looked like a large igloo. It had igloo shaped rooms as well as a large internal igloo shaped restaurant. The downside was that it had been built without any fire exits. The hotel had never been opened and so had never had a paying guest sleep in it. The hotel was for sale at at least $300,000 and perhaps needed $1.5 million to bring it up to standard as well as renovation and repair.
At the side of the rivers we can see trees leaning at an alarming angle. We learnt that these probably have been hit by a large blocks of ice floating down the river and they had simply been bowled over.
The driver was one of the 300 or so some workers that stayed near the McKinley Wilderness lodge in the staff quarters. They slept in dormitories and ate in staff cafeterias. He worked in Alaska for the summer months and then went home to work the rest of the year in the Mid West. All of the Princes Lodges were closed when the Summer season was over. The rooms were emptied and the heating turned off. A skeleton crew stayed behind to look after the resorts when the snow came and keep them safe.
Hurricane Gorge again
Going South we had to pass over Hurricane Gorge again, this time on the road bridge. Looking down from the coach was not quite as bad as from the train especially as we crossed at a much higher speed.
It was funny to hear the stories of how other places were named in Alaska. A junction of paths that had been marked ‘T OK’ on a map and from then became became ‘Tok’. Similarly ‘Nome’ came from maps originally marked ‘No name’.